It started to be a great weekend of farm visits and local food feasting in Lambton County. First, a visit to the Sarnia Bay Farmers’ Market. The market over looks the beautiful white boats bobbing in the blue water shimmering in the sunlight. Forest Glen Herb Farm was selling fresh herbs and dried bouquets of lavender, the pie lady was there was fruit pies, Williamson Farms had 3 long tables laden with fresh vegetables and Forest Glen Orchards has baskets of peaches, and nectarines; Lena’s Lamb, Bluewater Beef and The Whole Pig were there with frozen cuts of their naturally raised meats.
We were inspired to go out to Forest Glen Herb Farm but before we did, we had to make a stop to one of the many chip wagons under the bridge in downtown Sarnia. Sarnia chip wagons are famous for the best fries and I have to say, there is a lot of truth in that reputation!
Forest Glen Herb Farm is hidden away behind a row of bushes, but drive into the driveway and as it unfolds garden by garden, your eyes get bigger and bigger. It’s a beautiful and incredibly intense farm where every inch of property is filled with romantic colour and seductive aromas. Inside the retail barn there is barely a path to walk. Dried herbs hang down from the ceiling, reach out from the walls and posts in the room and baskets of dried herbs line the floor and spill themselves across tables. It’s a Willy Wonka wonderland of beautiful dried herbs and flowers. In the back is an ancient room with antique furniture where herb workshops take place. What a great farm that everyone should visit!
Feeling thirsty, we made a stop to Twin Pines Apple Orchard and Cider House where we sipped on delicious cider, Bluewater Beef to see the baby cow, we stopped off at Volryk Farms where our city shoes got covered in beautiful sandy soil in the potato patch. Our last visit was to Sara’s natural pork. It was here when Jon and I got to the edge of the pig barns where the aromas were overwhelming.
We didn’t stay there very long but long enough to fill the car with pig aromas when we climbed in. As we drove through the countryside the smell lingered. Inspired to roll down the windows, we didn’t realize we were down wind of a farmer fertilizing his giant field with cow manure. The strong smells filled the car almost immediately and we choked as we hurried to roll the windows up while laughing hysterically.
All of a sudden I remembered the lavender bouquet from the herb farm in the back of the car and reached for it. I stuck my nose deep into the bouquet and took a huge whif. The lavender was strong and enough to give a bit of a reprieve until it was safe enough to roll the windows down again. No matter how long we drove with the windows open, when we closed them again, the familiar smell of pigs and cows seemed to be embedded in the car – or was it on our shoes. We stopped to wipe our shoes on a patch of grass. On the way home the lavender continued to help when we dug our noses deep into the bouquet and breathed deeply.
City folk like us aren’t used to the natural smells of live food production. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s part of the job – and it’s the only time we get to enjoy those great belly laughs. Life is all about accepting the good with the bad and if this is as bad as it gets – I’m still a happy and well-fed food writer.